Readers do not always take into account how books that combine image and text make their meanings. But for the Pre-Raphaelite poet Chriistina Rossetti, such considerations were central. This volume maps the production and reception of Rossetti's illustrated poetry, devotional poetry and work for children, both in the author's lifetime and in posthumous 20th-century reprints. The author, Lorraine Janzen Kooistra's reading of Rossetti's illustrated works reveals the visual-verbal aesthetic that was fundamental to Rossetti's poetics. Her archival research brings to light information on how Rossetti's commitment to illustration and attitudes to copyright and control influenced her transactions with publishers and the books they produced. Kooistra also tracks the poet's reception in the 20th century through a complex web of illustrated books produced of a wide range of audiences.
Analyzing an impressive array of empirical data, Kooistra shows how Rossetti's packaging for commodity consumption - by religious presses, publishers of academic editions and children's picture books, and makers of erotica and collectibles - influenced the reception of her work and her place in literary history.
Lorraine Janzen Kooistra is associate professor of English at Nipissing University, North Bay, Canada. She is the author of The Artist as Critic: Bitextuality in Finde-Siecle Illustrated Books and co-editor (with Mary Arseneau and Antony H. Harrison) of The Culture of Christina Rossetti: Female Poetics and Victorian Contexts.